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Earlier this week, Brooke shared Betty Londergan's description of Heifer Peru's Healthy Homes initiative on her blog, Heifer 12x12. Betty wasn't alone in the latter part of her Peruvian travels--she was joined by some of my co-workers in Little Rock, including Oscar Castañeda, the vice president of the Americas at Heifer. Oscar had the privilege of receiving a personal tour of the Pacoricona family home, which included a very detailed look inside the tool shed (courtesy of a shy but charismatic 8 year old named Ever), and we want to share a bit of Oscar's tour as an addition to what Betty shared in her blog.

But first, a little context. The Pacoriconas live in Chillcapata, near Puno and Lake Titicaca, at an elevation of 12,000 feet or so. As mentioned above, the family is a part of the Healthy Homes initiative. Healthy Homes focuses on training families and distributing supplies that will significantly improve the living conditions of families in the projects. Improvements include, among other things:

  • improved stoves that eliminate families' smoke inhalation while reducing local deforestation through their use of animal manure as fuel
  • stone-paved floors that lead to better conditions for food preparation
  • outhouses that improve hygiene
  • refrigerators made of local mud and clay with a container of water inside (the water acts with the local climate and keeps the inside cold and moist, preserving fruits and vegetables longer)

The poster below gives you a better idea of the whole process. Here's the basic premise: after a family like the Pacoriconas joins Healthy Homes, they meet with Heifer staff and define their vision of their future home while they are receiving training . After they have a concrete plan, they draw out or even construct a model of the home. Then the house is built--with the improved kitchen, the refrigerator, neatly organized bedrooms, a tool shed and an outhouse, as well as spaces inside the house where the family can maintain their personal hygiene and study. An animal shelter and family garden are also added.


With that process in mind, let's take a quick tour of the Pacoricona's home.

And, finally, Ever gives Oscar a tour of the tool shed.


And that concludes our tour. For those of you who don't speak Spanish, here's my synopsis:

"This is the place where my tools are," Ever says. His mom asks him to name the tools, and does, pointing out which tools are his, which are his father's and which belong to his brother, Edwin. Then he says, "This is my hoop. When I was little, I played with this." He then adds that he still actually plays with it. The firewood and kindling are used when it rains, he says. "Then," he says, "my mom cooks (as in uses for fuel) with this. The llama's (let's translate it as, little droppings)." You put that in the fire, he confirms.

Heifer Peru's Healthy Homes initiative is actually a part of a larger project called the Food Security Enhancement and Entrepreneurial Development, or FEED, project. FEED, which is funded by the Walmart Foundation, aims to increase the income and food security of a planned 700 Peruvian women and their families through support of their economic activities and promotion of a greater role for women in family and community decision making.


Jason Woods

Jason Woods is from Stillwater, Oklahoma, and has worked for the Americas Area Program of Heifer International since 2010. He has a master’s in cultural geography and a bachelor’s in news-editorial journalism. His passion for Heifer’s work started as a teenager, when he spent a weekend at Heifer Ranch’s Global Village in Perryville, Arkansas.